In Week 12, the Baltimore Ravens beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football in a 20-10 primetime victory. It marked the Ravens’ second straight and improved their record to 9-3, keeping them atop both the AFC North and in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the conference.
In a game where they were favored to win, the Ravens were able to find a way to finish in the fourth quarter. They built a double-digit lead, lost it, but regained it again in the end thanks to some of their less-heralded players on both sides of the ball.
This article highlights the players whose performances flew under the radar but were still clutch — the unsung heroes.
DT Michael Pierce
The eighth-year veteran nose tackle didn’t record one of the defense’s three sacks of the night but he was integral in stifling the Chargers’ run game, finishing first among all Ravens interior defensive linemen with four total tackles including a pair of solos. Pierce also played pivotal roles in getting the ball back to the offense on two separate occasions. The first came in the final minute of the second quarter when he jumped on a loose ball following a forced fumble by linebacker Patrick Queen on Chargers’ running back Austin Ekeler.
The second came on Los Angeles’ second-to-last offensive possession of the game when they had advanced the ball to the Ravens’ 46-yard line and were going for it on fourth down. At the snap of the ball, he quickly dropped into underneath coverage to take away the shallow option Justin Herbert’s progression, which allowed veteran slot cornerback Arthur Maulet to get a free pathway to apply the drive-ending pressure that resulted in an intentional grounding penalty.
On 4th down, game on the line, nose tackle Michael Pierce dropped in coverage to take away the quick underneath throw and allow Arthur Maulet to come on the untouched cornerback blitz. pic.twitter.com/AAX5hfRjlu— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) November 27, 2023
DE Brent Urban
The 10th-year veteran defensive lineman had one of his stronger games of the season and finished with a pair of solo tackles. He also got in on the fumble recovery party when he pounced on the first loose ball of the game. The turnover was forced when linebackers Roquan Smith and Jadeveon Clowney converged and dislodged the ball from Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen. Thanks to the hustle he showed after seeing the ball released, Urban was at the right place at the right time.
DT Broderick Washington
The fourth-year pro went from being a healthy scratch in Week 11 for strategic purposes to reminding all of his doubters why the Ravens elected to extend him prior to the start of the regular season. In just 22 defensive snaps, Washington recorded his second sack of the season, a solo tackle for loss, and tied for the second-most quarterback hits with a pair.
DT Travis Jones
The second-year pro continued his under-the-radar ascent with another strong performance both as run stuffer and interior pass rush presence. He tossed aside Chargers’ offensive guard Zion Johnson, who was a first-rounder in his draft class last year, as if he were a ragdoll on his way to his first share of a sack this season by helping fourth-year breakout star Justin Madubuike bring down Herbert. Jones also recorded a pair of assisted tackles and a quarterback hit on 23 defensive snaps.
It's so fun to watch these Ravens defensive linemen rush the quarterback.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) November 27, 2023
Justin Madubuike wins with a flurry of moves and power.
Travis Jones wins by rag dolling his blocker.
Shared sack pic.twitter.com/pZkRQ4zwVq
WR Rashod Bateman
The third-year pro was targeted five times and came away with just two receptions for 21 receiving yards. Yet Bateman made the passes that he did haul in noteworthy because each resulted in first downs during the early portion of the game when the offense was humming and Jackson was surgically precise with his throws. The first was the most impressive and clutch as it came on a slant where Bateman beat the slot corner to the inside and high-pointed the ball before coming down with it.
Rashod Bateman with a great catch pic.twitter.com/wNHw4H5Zz4— RanDynasty (@ran_dynasty) November 27, 2023
After picking up those 12 yards, the Ravens had advanced into the Chargers’ red zone where they would capitalize with the first of Zay Flowers’ two touchdowns four plays later. His second catch came on the offense’s following possession and was a nine-yard gain that moved the chains again but the offense stalled out and turned the ball over on downs four plays later.
OLB Kyle Van Noy
The 10th-year veteran played a season-high 71 percent of the total defensive snaps against one of his former teams. While he didn’t get in on the sack party, Van Noy still made his presence felt. He finished with three solo tackles and prevented a big gain to a wide-open check-down option in the fourth quarter by elevating high off the ground and knocking the intended pass off course.